surprise


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Related to surprise: Surprise party

catch (someone) by surprise

To startle, amaze, or come upon (someone) unawares. That car coming around the corner caught me by surprise. She was caught completely by surprise with the amount of donations she received. Don't let hidden bank fees catch you by surprise.
See also: catch, surprise

be in for a surprise

To be guaranteed to receive or experience an unexpected outcome, especially a negative one. If you think being a parent is easy, then you're in for a surprise!
See also: surprise

surprise, surprise

Said ironically of or in a situation in which something very predictable has happened. A: "I somehow managed to break yet another phone!" B: "Surprise, surprise! How many does that make it this year?" I was telling Sarah about going to the movies with my friend Jess, and surprise, surprise, she launched into another fit of jealousy.
See also: surprise

be taken by surprise

To be happened upon when one is not ready, prepared, or on guard; to be shocked or startled by someone or something. I was taken completely by surprise when you showed up at my office this afternoon for lunch. I wish you would have called ahead! The enemy encampment was taken by surprise when our troops descended upon them just before daybreak.
See also: surprise, taken

element of surprise

A method of stealth or secrecy employed to catch someone off-guard. I'll get mom to let me stay out till midnight, but I can't ask her now, when she's expecting it—I need the element of surprise. The fish camouflages itself and disappears onto the ocean floor, relying on the element of surprise to catch its prey.
See also: element, of, surprise

quelle surprise

A French phrase that means "what a surprise." Often said sarcastically. A: "Ruth isn't coming tonight? Quelle surprise." B: "I know, she's ditched us at the last minute once again."
See also: surprise

come as no surprise

will not be surprising [for someone] to learn [something]. It will come as no surprise for you to learn that the company is losing money this year. It came as no surprise that the president had been lying.
See also: come, surprise

I'm not surprised.

 and I don't wonder.
It is not surprising.; It should not surprise anyone. Mary: All this talk about war has my cousin very worried. Sue: No doubt. At his age, I don't wonder. John: All of the better-looking ones sold out right away. Jane: I'm not surprised.
See also: not, surprise

surprise someone by something

to astonish someone by doing or being something. You surprised me by your forthrightness. No one was surprised by the way it happened.
See also: surprise

surprise someone with something

to astonish someone by presenting or showing something. I surprised her with a bouquet of roses. He surprised Roger with a new car.
See also: surprise

take someone by surprise

 and catch someone by surprise
to startle someone; to surprise someone with something unexpected. Oh! You took me by surprise because I didn't hear you come in. Bill caught his mother by surprise by coming to the door and pretending to be selling something.
See also: surprise, take

take someone or something by surprise

to startle or surprise someone or something. She bolted into the room and took them by surprise. I took the little bird by surprise, and it flew away.
See also: surprise, take

take (somebody) by surprise

to do something not expected His resignation took us all completely by surprise.
See also: surprise, take

take by surprise

Encounter unexpectedly, as in The rainshower took us by surprise. [Late 1600s]
See also: surprise, take
References in classic literature ?
Somewhat to his surprise, he was immediately supplied with a fine two years' old colt in his stead, a substitution which he afterward learnt, according to Indian custom in such cases, he might have claimed as a matter of right.
In one of the two, Archer, to his surprise, recognised Ned Winsett; the other and older, who was unknown to him, and whose gigantic frame declared him to be the wearer of the "Macfarlane," had a feebly leonine head with crumpled grey hair, and moved his arms with large pawing gestures, as though he were distributing lay blessings to a kneeling multitude.
Aglaya was the only one of the family whose good graces he could not gain, and who always spoke to him haughtily, but it so happened that the boy one day succeeded in giving the proud maiden a surprise.
Now to his surprise he found that he no longer felt either doubt or perplexity about these questions.
It is written that the noble savage must never express surprise in the presence of the white.
His surprise will be short-lived," replied the ape-man grimly, and there was that in his tone that made her look up into his face in alarm.
Horace resumed his seat with an air of suspicious surprise.
Who would feel any great surprise at hearing that the Magalonyx was formerly rare compared with the Megatherium, or that one of the fossil monkeys was few in number compared with one of the now living monkeys?
The surprise, it is easy to understand, would arise from the inability to interpret aright the signs which experience (a thing mysterious in itself) makes to our understanding and emotions.
Think how great was his surprise when he saw that the donkey was weeping--weeping just like a boy!
Why, about where we're going to live, of course," rejoined Pollyanna, in obvious surprise.
At every step he found his former dreams disappointed, and new, unexpected surprises of happiness.
said Gashford, turning it over with an air of perfectly natural surprise.
What surprise,' he asked, keeping his left hand over his heart, and there stopping in his speech, while with his right hand he put his glasses exactly level on the table: 'what such surprise can be in store for me?
And your little surprise, aren't you going to show it to me?